Speaking at the summit, held in Edinburgh, Kristen Miller, Empty Homes Co-ordinator, said:
“Empty homes are a disgraceful waste of assets at a time when housing demand outstrips supply. We urge council’s to do all they can to bring empty homes within their communities back in to use. With 160,000 households on housing waiting lists, Scotland needs to do all it can to make use of homes we already have.”
The summit, where Minister for Housing and Transport Keith Brown gave a keynote speech, outlined key challenges facing the housing sector in light of the changing financial and economic context across Scotland.
Miller added: “It is encouraging that the Scottish government promised to extend the Empty Homes Partnership in their manifesto. Their commitment illustrates our belief that if protected and refurbished, empty homes can be a vital source of housing supply for communities suffering from chronic shortages of affordable housing.”
Shelter research shows that housing demand currently outstrips supply, as shown by a 3% reduction in new build starts from 2009 to 2010.
The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership works with councils to help them bring empty homes back in to use. It is estimated that the cost of refurbishing an empty home is between £6,000 – £25,000. The average cost of a new build home in Scotland is £100,000, not including infrastructure and local services which are most often already in place around empty homes.
The summit is also set to address innovation and investment challenges facing the housing sector, as well as how private rented sector can be used to fill gaps in housing supply.
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